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story of some clients of mine who I transport their service dog Bachey to and from the great trainers in Sandford Paws and People.I tell you this lady is a true brave person we could all learn from this couple an Australian love story.
(A story that the Editors are so pleased to include in this edition
Before I had my accident at the age of fourteen years I was an excellent student, both physically and mentally. I studied all my subjects at the highest level and was in the top five percent of my class. I was good at maths and science and won awards in these subjects and physically I was a good long distance runner and came second in the under 15 cross country race.As a common teenager I felt invincible and before life struck me with a blow I felt nothing could possibly happen to me but on the evening of June 26th 1987 at about 6.00 pm I had a serious accident which left me severely disabled surviving a traumatic brain injury. I have had to rely on what others tell me about the incident as I have lost that memory for which I am grateful.
When you suffer an accident causing a brain injury many survivors never remember what took place and our memory of past and present get scrambled up. I went with some friends to look at an
advertising blimp which was anchored where the Derwent Entertainment Centre has now been built. It was advertising cigarettes and I was hoping to get some because like a lot of silly teenagers I used to have a surreptitious “puff”. About 6.30pm I said to my friends,” I had better go home now.” One of my friends grabbed another friend’s bike and took off across the Brooker Highway. I followed running to get it back. My friends tell me I was hit by a car and thrown across the road leaving my shoes behind. My glasses were found 100 metres down the road. A man in a house nearby who had some first aid experience telephoned the ambulance and then attended to me and according to him I sat up and said, “I am alright” and then lapsed into unconsciousness. My friends got the owner of a local pizza restaurant to phone my parents who came and found me lying on the road with an ambulance in attendance. I was taken to the hospital where I ended up in intensive care critically ill with the possibility I might die. I had a badly broken right arm, extensive bruising and grazing and a dislocated knee and sustained very serious head injuries when I hit the gutter. This resulted in a right frontal lobe injury which has affected my memory and my thinking patterns and a brain/neck stem injury caused by my brain twisting in my skull which has left me with my physical disabilities and my difficulties with speech.
I spent 9 months in a coma unable to communicate in any way, being fed through a nasal gastric tube. I have a few very vague memories of this time. I spent two and a half years in the hospital as there was nowhere else for me to go where I could be looked after with all the disabilities I have. My doctor said at the time I was the most seriously injured person he had seen who had survived, so I was really at the cutting edge of severe disability and there were no facilities for someone like me.
It took awhile to accept that I would be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life, I finally did and am glad that I have had no choice but to be so reliant on others for help, for that is the only way I can accept their help. If I had a choice I would do everything myself. I have accepted also that life, as it is for me, is all I can and want to do. I have had to learn to use my left hand because my right hand is too weak and can now feed myself with a spoon and put my plate on the table when I have finished. I had to learn to talk again and it is not easy for me to talk. It takes a lot of energy as it does for most things I do. I went back to school at Cosgrove High School where I completed my year 10 using my Epsom speech computer to communicate.
I enjoy life the best I can with the things I can do myself. I obtain my enjoyment from watching other people accomplishing things which they can do well. Here I am then…Andrew Hodges the world’s greatest spectator.
A beam of light from black ice by Stephanie Henry
Howdy, my name is Stephanie Marie Henry and I want to tell you about my traumatic brain injury that happened on February 02, 1996 that halted mine and my 6 year old jewel Crystan’s life as we knew it. I was on my way to work at the Texas Maximum Security Prison Conally Unit in Kenedy, Texas living in Beeville, Texas so having a drive 30 minutes to get to work. I was a single mommy self divorcing which my life as I knew it got ‘put on hold’.
I was living life recklessly and stressed out being a single mommy going through a divorce, also working at a high security prison was an add on to my stress level. It was a cold and icy, raining day when I was driving to work so I went on black ice and lost control of my Ford Ranger truck spinning around and ended up on the wrong side of the road hitting a bridge rail that stopped me. I went into shock at the time as I hit my head on the steering wheel but thank goodness my jewel Crystan saved my life, from being dislodged from the truck, because when I dropped her off at daycare before going to work she would not let me leave until I put my seatbelt on due to the weather conditions that I never wore before and that held me in my seat and saved my life. I banged my forehead on the steering wheel after I hit the bridge rail so hard that my seatbelt kept me down and I had the part of the seatbelt that goes across your chest behind me cause I was living life on the edge and having that part of the seatbelt behind me allowed my upper torso to sling over and hit the passenger seat. I hit my skull so forcefully on the upper part of the passenger seat that the metal inside, that
shapes the seat, crushed and entered my skull.
Having a brain injury of any kind open/closed will change the process of life as you know it and you go through slowly day by day year by year hurtling/overcoming/succeeding and achieving in rehabilitation stages goals you set.
My surviving/rehabilitation goes into a fuller story and I’ve been writing a book that explains it more plus my reward meeting Andrew and our falling deeply in love relationship that added up to marriage. Texas Trooper Jimmy Moore, who found me when I had my accident and after seeing me living and recovering farther than expected, feels all of my achieved goals set is God’s way of saying He is not through with me yet. Maybe Andrew is one of the reasons why……… Andrew plus+ Stephanie plus+ plus+ Bachey Hodges = Life can end up good from suffering a traumatic brain injury!!!
Andrew and I met on June 2006 in a chat room for traumatic brain injury survivors. So I guess that is how it all started, with a conversation in a chat room, who would have thought! I once gave Andrew a plaque that says ‘Once you choose HOPE anything’s possible’ it’s so true because our internet love proves what that plaque says. Our chance internet meeting, falling deeply in love on the internet and my subsequent migration, proves that anything is possible. That fresh starts are available to anyone with an open mind, courage and hope for the future. Our marriage was 10th of September 2011 and we honeymooned at the ParaQuad unit in Glenorchy where we are having to stay after selling our house waiting for a new one so we are in the ParaQuad again on our 1st marriage anniversary!!
So 5 years building a relationship proves the advantage of patience, time and hope starting a new
long term future together and with our 3rd family member service (HERO Bachey) dog in training!!!
My goal for Andrew is making him be as independent as he can be. Being with a learned again
independent wife that can relate to Andrew also suffering a brain injury, he is now talking/writing
for himself along with having his own mobile phone he wears around his neck. For this new life
now is what Andrew/Stephanie need & want.